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Building with Nature Guideline > BwN Approach > Governance > Governance - Realisation framework 

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Governance - Realisation framework


The success of a Building with Nature program depends to a large extent on the ability to build organisational and contractual arrangements which support the realisation of BwN-type projects. To provide guidance in achieving such, the following questions are addressed:

  • How can organisational structures, procurement and contracts facilitate BwN-type projects?
  • Which specific arrangements with regard to organisation, procurement and contracts are conditional for realisation of such projects?


The contracting phase is preceded by activities such as seeking opportunities for BwN, putting it on the agenda of relevant stakeholders, building relationships and trust, and collective learning (see sections on networks and knowledge). These are all voluntary activities by separate legal entities, and the boundaries around participating groups are fuzzy. The ultimate proof of the pudding is in pro-actively organising the project environment, such that the results of all efforts can be harvested.  In the realisation phase important resources such as finance and space will be committed, and so the aims, inputs and responsibilities need to be formalised. Therefore, attention should be paid to an appropriate 'realisation framework'.


The guidance is structured as follows:

  • First a general perspective on BwN related aspects of good water governance, procurement and contracts is offered. It clarifies how project tasks and responsibilities change when BwN principles are applied.
  • Under 'Guidance' information is provided on innovative types of procurement and contracts needed to support BwN within project boundaries. It addresses the option of Public Private Partnerships and the relation with stakeholders in the project implementation stage.
  • Three examples concern marine / riverine infrastructural projects: the Port Phillip Bay Channel Deepening project of the Port of Melbourne Corporation, the Maasvlakte 2 extension of the Port of Rotterdam and the Grensmaas River Refurbishing project in the Netherlands.
  • 'References' offers a number of sources for further reading.

Good water governance

Involving stakeholders and entering a dialogue with them, as is described in the section on networks, is already a great start of a 'good governance' approach. In the scoping and agenda-setting phase this may not be very systematic; therefore, in the realisation phase it is helpful to use the 'good governance building blocks' of the Dutch Water Governance Centre (WGC) as a checklist in order to repair potential gaps.


Good water governance is defined as governance that leads to effective, efficient and sustainable water management, to achieve the desired results in the control of water pollution, the prevention of disastrous flooding, and the effective, efficient and well-balanced dealing with periods of water shortage (Havekes et al, 2016).

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What is good procurement for BwN?

Procurement is a process of finding and acquiring goods, services or works from an external source. Procurement comprises more than just buying stuff. With mass products or simple services such as a taxi drive, the contact between buyer and seller can be very short. A process of procurement is in place when a prolonged buyer - seller arrangement is the aim, when it concerns a service or a product that is still 'invisible' at the time it is bought, and when larger sums of money are at stake. The process is used to ensure the buyer receives goods, services or works at the best price-quality ratio.

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Reshuffled tasks and responsibilities in BwN projects

In the project implementation phase BwN becomes concrete. The definition of tasks and responsibilities in projects is of crucial importance since this defines the domain in which procurement and contracts have to be organised. Traditional procurement focuses purely on competition, which is suitable for simple and standardised projects with low uncertainty. However, BwN projects involve complexity and uncertainty. Procurement aiming for collaborative schemes, in which it is expected that relationships between project participants will be encouraged, can improve project outcomes.

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This section gives guidance on the case by case application of the redefined procurement and contracting procedures. It is written for all parties that can be involved in a BwN process: a government that needs a BwN type of solution; contractors, NGO's and research institutes aiming to develop BwN projects further and consortia or project developers who just stepped into a BwN project.


This Guidance section addresses the following topics:

  • Pre-competitive arrangements
  • Innovative organisation of procurement and contracts
  • Organise procurement pro-actively
  • Types of procurement
  • The procurement process
  • Effective management of procurement and implementation
  • Feasibility of innovative procurement
  • Public Private Partnerships
  • Dealing with stakeholders in the implementation stage

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Practical applications - examples

Due to the fact that innovative procurement and contracting is still nascent the examples given below are of a descriptive nature. Each example includes a link towards documents that include analysis of the case or guidance for handling of similar cases. 


Case Melbourne Channel Deepening Project (AUS)

The port of Melbourne is a city port in Melbourne, in the state of Victoria, Australia. The Port of Melbourne is the largest cargo port in Australia. The Melbourne Channel Deepening Project has been initiated by the Department of Infrastructure of the Victorian government, to allow larger ships to enter the Port of Melbourne. Without deepening the port would have become the shallowest port in Australia, as the ports of Adelaide, Sydney and Perth have already upgraded their entrance channels. The port could thereby lose its strong position of being a main node in the network of maritime shipping.

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Case Maasvlakte 2, Port of Rotterdam (NL)

The Maasvlakte 2 (MV2) expansion project of the Port of Rotterdam, comprises of a land reclamation project. This project has been initiated by the Port of Rotterdam and the Dutch government to cope with future space shortages of the port. The terms of reference were set by a societal discussion on usefulness and necessity. A conclusion hereof, besides requirements on the size and possible lay-out of the extension, was that the extension of the port should coincide with the creation of additional nature, recreational area and liveability improvements in the broader Rotterdam area (see figure 1). The further development of the project design was taken up by the then privatised port authority by the definition of ‘functional requirements’ that are based on the Terms of Reference, Dutch and EU regulations. Based on these requirements the constructors developed an engineering design. After awarding the contract, the constructors and the port authority aligned to optimise the engineering design. Of interest in this situation is that the port authority, as private entity, was able to discuss both the engineering design with the constructors, as well as the environmental permit requirements with the  authorities.  


Although not specific tailored towards the Maasvlakte 2 the European PPP Expertise Centre issued relevant guidance with regard to preparing and handling PPP cases such as the Maasvlakte 2 extension case.


Case Grensmaas, River Refurbishment (NL) 

This case description gives an example of an innovative realisation arrangement, the Consortium Grensmaas . 


The Grensmaas is a part of the Meuse River that forms the border between The Netherlands and Belgium. In this area, several problems led to decades of debate and failed policy making (Warner, 2016):

  • As a national policy, private companies got concessions to exploit the gravel in the Meuse River in order to fulfil the national needs for construction materials; however the Province of Limburg and its citizens opposed this because the quarrying left them with many ugly holes in the landscape;
  • Gravel transport caused noise and dust, while quarrying vibrations caused damage to houses;
  • Chances of winter floods are increasing. Unprotected villages along this stretch of river suffered from flooding in 1993 and in 1995.


Around 2005 the solution was found in the creation of a Consortium Grensmaas in which 14 private companies participated (e.g. Van den Biggelaar, Boskalis & Van Oord; L’Ortye, Geo-control), and the NGO Natuurmonumenten. This consortium was complemented with an organisation ‘RWS Maaswerken’ in which three governments cooperated: the Ministries of Infrastructure and Nature, and the Province of Limburg.

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